“Winter is the time when we delude ourselves into thinking that the coming year will be one of clean fields, abundant moisture, bumper crops and few, if any, problems.”
This sentiment from Vic Madsen, who farms near Audubon, is common fiction we as farmers fabricate in the quiet, rejuvenating winter months. Farmers’ best laid plans are vulnerable to disruption each year: weather, pests and market volatility, to name just a few, can lead to crop and livestock losses and diminished returns.
Today, farms are less resilient than they used to be. Farms have gotten larger and there are fewer neighbors to depend on. Less crop diversity means less economic resilience if a crop fails. Less variety on the land creates vulnerable landscapes.
As we embark on 2020, Reclaiming Resilience will examine the current state of our farms and our food systems. This endeavor is not about going backwards in time or unraveling progress. It’s about reclaiming resilience to help family farms survive into the future. Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2020 conference will explore what’s working well and why, as well as what needs to change. We’ll ask if we’re doing certain things because that’s how we’ve always done them – and if there are better ways to create resiliency into the future.